Programs that allow you to chat by webcam with friends, family and business associates aren’t really anything new, as they’ve existed in some form for over a decade. But the rise of broadband Internet has led to many improvements in video chat technology. Video and sound quality have gotten better, plus new software tools and web based services have been put in place that give a better user experience. Many of us have used our webcam to have a one-on-one discussion with another person. But what about adding a few more people and creating a real video conference? There are many solutions for that. Here is a comparison of the most popular video conferencing solutions.
Go to Meeting
This is a paid service, however one major advantage is that a free 30 day trial is available, so you can decide for yourself whether it is right for you. The interface in GoToMeeting is very simple, which makes video conferencing a breeze. It allows audio conference calls, in addition to conferences via HD video. As the organizer of the conference, you will need to download and install their software. However, one drawback is that the price is a bit steep after the trial ends.
Everyone with internet access has already heard of Skype. It allows you to interact with your contacts via text chat, voice and video. One-on-one chats are available in the free version, but if you want to add more people and create a conference, you will need to upgrade to Skype Premium.
It is possible to add up to 10 participants in a video conference, however Skype recommends a maximum of just 4. Reviews of the service generally give it good marks for one-on-one video chats, but conferences have a tendency to lag or have the video freeze for several seconds at a time. Skype may be good because of its low rates for calling internationally, but the conferencing functionality still needs a bit of work.
Simply put, it’s free and it works quite well. Using Google+ Hangout is quite easy after you’ve figured it out. You will need to create a Google account, then add conference participants to a new Circle. Then, you can invite them to a Hangout. Other than a small browser plugin, there is no software to download. Audio and video quality is quite good, as the back end of the service runs on Google’s cloud servers.
You can add up to 10 people in the conference and Google Hangout recognizes the voice of every participant, instantly making the video feed of the person who is talking bigger. Even famous people like the Dalai Lama and Will.i.am have used the service, so it’s definitely getting popular, in addition to functional.
This article was written by Dixie Somers. Make sure you have high-speed internet access when using these video conferencing tools for the best experience.
Featured image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.